You guys, today was bad.
I've cried in the office before, but not for a while, and never with anyone watching. But today, after weeks of being up late working and up early working, after a morning of attempting to stay home with two sick kids while the phone rang every two minutes, after calling JW in a panic and going in to work the moment he got home, I got this email. It was totally nonsensical. It was from a client who sets ridiculous deadlines and then raises issues at the last minute and wants to go through them in excruciating detail even though they don't matter. And when a partner came in and said, "What is this," and I started explaining what had happened, he paused and said, "Are you okay? You seem upset."
If only he hadn't said, "Are you okay," I would have maintained my delicate emotional balance.
But I didn't. And then I had to explain that I wasn't freaking out because of the email, but that it was the last straw.
He gave me a lecture on pushing back. He told me to go home, which of course I couldn't do because I had three other things that I had promised would be done by the end of the day. (And I DID push back on those things... last week, when clients asked for them "ASAP.") And at least the upside was that he took over this particular project, which I REALLY needed a break from. It was almost done and I am happy to have him push it over the finish line so I never have to deal with these people again.
But yeah. I spent half the day crying in my office while trying to write contracts. This other partner walked into my office to give me a twenty minute sales pitch about working with a new client, and the whole time I was focusing on breathing deeply and staying calm. And it's almost midnight and I am, just like every night, in front of my laptop -- I just sent out some documents and I'm preparing to work on one last agreement before I can go to bed.
I'm trying to set boundaries. I really am. But nobody else seems to have any. I can't tell you the number of times in the last few weeks that someone said, "How soon can you do this," and I said, "I'm tied up for the next few days, but I'll get it to you by the end of next week," and they negotiate me down by a few days, and then I stay up half the night doing it anyway, even though I had a week, because so many things came up in between. All that stuff that's on my list? I don't start on it until 5 p.m., when the phone stops ringing so much.
In case you're wondering, I haven't gone part time yet, although I have taken some steps toward it. I'm sort of using the next few weeks as a trial period, because part time will not work unless I can effectively manage my schedule. I am so not there yet.